The once widespread and abundant Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) is now restricted to small pockets of rapidly vanishing wildernesses across its range. The IUCN lists the blackbuck as a ‘Near Threatened’ species. This picture, shot on the outskirts of Amravati city, Maharashtra, shows the prime reason behind the blackbuck’s rapid decline. Once, this vast scrub land harboured large herds of these unique antelope; but rapid habitat destruction due to large-scale construction and other so-called development activities have reduced the herd to a mere 20 individuals. How long will they hold on?
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Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
Grasslands and scrub have always been regarded as 'wastelands' although they are home to a wide variety of creatures, including Indian fox, wolf, hyena great Indian bustard, florican and roosting raptors. Once, vast herds of grassland species such as blackbuck and chinkara were a common sight across India. Today, their habitat has largely disappeared and the species have become increasingly rare.